In his memoir Faces in My Time (1980), Anthony Powell wondered how someone as unprepossessing as John Hayward could be on everyone’s guest list:

His shrunken body, part of the toll taken by disease [muscular dystrophy], was sufficiently light in weight to be lifted, wheelchair and all, into a taxi, and, provided a party was held on the ground-floor, John Hayward was more likely than not to be one of the guests.

Suffering left its mark on Hayward’s features: “turbid lips, and an impression of implacable severity, making him look like a portrait of Savonarola.” At such parties, Hayward, dandy, wit, and bibliographer, dominated the scene:

He had much about him of Ham, the seated autocrat in Samuel Beckett’s Endgame, regal yet immobile, continually dispensing a rich flow of comment, imperious,...

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